Last winter, a group of six seniors helped drive the Princeton High boys’ swim team to an undefeated season and the program’s first-ever state championship.
As the 2012-13 season heads into its second month, a Fab Four of juniors Matt Purdy, Peter Kalibat, Will Stange, and Colburn Yu has PHS on track for another big campaign.
The quartet helped the Little Tigers cruise past WW/P-S 117-53 last Thursday at the John Witherspoon pool as PHS improved to 7-0 and won its 31st straight Colonial Valley Conference dual meet.
Kalibat won the 200 and 500 freestyle races while Stange placed first in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. Purdy prevailed in the 50 free and took third in the 100 free while Yu won the 100 breaststroke and placed second in the 200 individual medley.
PHS head coach Greg Hand credited Purdy with setting a positive tone for the Little Tigers.
“Matt has great kinesthetics and he works on his stroke everyday,” said Hand of Purdy, who swam the anchor leg in the 200 medley relay that opened the meet with a solid win.
“He has got a great work ethic not just in terms of his ability to work even when he is exhausted. He pays attention to what he is doing throughout the workout.”
The pair of Kalibat and Stange always seems to be going full speed. “Those guys are great because we may not have needed swims as fast as they swam today but regardless they are always going to give a quality effort,” asserted Hand, who also got a win from senior Daniel Andronov in the 100 free.
Yu is working to fine-tune his technique to bring even more quality to the Little Tigers.
“Colburn is a really an exceptional breaststroker; he has been working hard on training,” said Hand.
“I am not sure I know what his second best event is. He has done really well for us in the IM. To refine his backstroke and his fly, which he needs to do to be a faster IMer, requires a lot of work and a lot of patience. It is a big challenge. We will be relying on him and sometimes Pete Kalibat to be pretty fast in that event.”
In Hand’s view, the squad has the right mindset to deal with the challenges ahead.
“I am pleased with how the boys’ team is coming along just as the team that we had last year had developed over a substantial amount of time,” said Hand, whose team hosts WW/P-N on January 10 and Notre Dame on January 15.
“This team, with a bunch of veterans but also with many new swimmers, and without a bunch of kids who helped shaped the identity of last year’s team, is growing in a good direction. Today was the first one where it is the beginning of a string of meets where we have to really perform well in a dual meet environment. I really liked what I saw in terms of the enthusiasm, in terms of everybody being fully into it.”